Patrick Reed Birdies Yet Again and Takes Lead
Patrick Reed matches Marc Leishman with birdies on 1, 2 and now 3! That puts him at 6-under and in sole possession of the lead. Reed, 27, has five wins on Tour and a second place in the PGA in 2017, but has never been better than 22nd at Augusta.
No. 4: Tiger Stays Upright With a Tough Par
Tiger Woods struggled with what club to use on the 240-yard par-3 fourth, as the wind picked up and he seemed caught between clubs. He wound up hitting over the green and beyond the tee boxes of the fifth hole. That left him with a difficult chip back onto the green for the up-and-down to save par. But after missing that makeable putt on 3, Woods manages to clean up this one. And he remains at +2.
Rory McIlroy Makes a Charge
Rory McIlroy rips off birdies at Nos. 13 and 14, and he’s now a stroke back of Marc Leishman and Patrick Reed. At No. 13, he sank a 7-footer, and on 14, a 25-footer.
Another Birdie for Patrick Reed, and a Share of the Lead
Patrick Reed had birdies on the first two holes and joins Marc Leishman at the top at 5-under. A fine bunker shot on No. 2 led to a mere 4-foot putt for the birdie.
Double Bogey on No. 11 Hurts Cabrera Bello
Rafael Cabrera Bello’s wild up and down
Patrick Reed Starts With a Birdie
The final group of the
Leishman Continues His Birdie Binge, Leads at -5
Marc Leishman: three straight birdies to start the day. He nearly reached the green in one on the par-4 third, chipped to three feet and made the putt. He’s now at 5-under par, alone at the top again.
No. 3: Tiger Misses Birdie Putt to Stay +2
On the 350-yard third hole, Woods nearly drove the green, then pitched it nicely up to within seven feet. His slightly downhill putt wasn’t the easiest but certainly still makeable. But Woods missed. That’s a tough one. He’ll be kicking himself for that.
Rafael Cabrera Bello Joins Leishman on Top
Marc Leishman has company at the top. Rafael Cabrera Bello makes his fourth birdie of the day on 10 (against three bogeys) with a 40-foot putt. What a day for him.
No. 2: Tiger Settles for Par After Wayward Drive
Woods will try to get that shot back on the par-5 second hole. His drive hits a tree, but takes a Tiger bounce and lands in the fairway. He’s behind his playing partners and still has 330 to go to the green. So he can’t make it in two, and his second shot winds up 75 yards or so from the green. He makes it to the green in 3 but is still 30 feet away. The long putt glides four feet past the hole, and he gets the par. Meanwhile, playing partner Marc Leishman has started birdie-birdie to take the outright lead at 4-under.
A Big Shakeup on Top of Leaderboard
Remember all those guys who looked like contenders when the day began? Spieth? Kuchar? McIlroy? Well, the three leaders on the course are now Rafael Bello Cabrera, Bernd Wiesberger and Marc Leishman. Kuchar was the latest to fall away with a bogey on the 12th hole. He missed the green on the par 3 then hit a poor chip and two-putted.
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No. 1 Tiger Woods Starts With a Bogey
Tiger Woods smacks his opening shot 340 yards down the fairway, far outdriving his playing partners. That leaves him less than 100 yards to the hole, but he hits the iron shot too hot, bouncing the ball off the green, and leaving himself with a tricky up-and-down. His third shot is a miss: It hits the edge of the green and just dies, leaving him with 20 feet for par. He misses the par putt by a few inches and starts off poorly, with a bogey.
Bogeys All Around for the Leaders
Things are going wrong for several of the leaders. A bogey for Bernd Wiesberger, a bogey for Rickie Fowler, and now the only players on the course at 3-under are Wiesberger and Matt Kuchar. They are in a six-way tie with four players who haven’t started yet.
Bill Pennington: Fowler was briefly tied for the lead about 30 minutes ago. He’s dropped back a stroke, and his Masters history is not so encouraging. He’s playing his 28th round at Augusta National today and he’s five-over par cumulatively in those rounds. Best finish in the tournament is a tie for fifth four years ago. Three times he has been outside the top 25 and in 2016 he missed the cut.
Phil Mickelson Tumbles Off the Leaderboard
Phil Mickelson’s tee shot on the 9th hole was so far to the right he disappeared into the woods looking for it. He found the ball and tried to pitch out but his shot smacked solidly off the trunk of a tree. The crack of ball meeting bark resounded across the hole. Mickelson went deeper in the woods and had to take a stroke for unplayable lie. Then Mickelson knocked his fourth shot close to the green but just below it. His flop shot from there was short, his long double bogey putt ran past the hole and Mickelson finally sank a nervy downhill putt to end a disastrous hole. He began the hole tied for 7th, now he’s tied for 26th.
Jordan Spieth Falls Back to -2
Jordan Spieth, the Day 1 leader, started double bogey-bogey, but righted his ship with a run of four pars and reclaimed a share of the lead for a while. Alas, he found a trap with his second shot on No. 7, and couldn’t get up and down. A bogey, and he’s two back now.
Bernd Wiesberger Alone at the Top
Breakthrough! We have a solo leader at 4-under and it’s … Bernd Wiesberger? Yep, Wiesberger made a 15-footer for birdie on No. 3 to go to 2-under on the day. Wiesberger, 32, has a few European tour wins, but has never been better than 15th at a major.
Rickie Fowler Makes Another Big Putt, Shares Lead
Rickie Fowler rolls in a 25-footer on the par-5 eighth and joins his playing partner Matt Kuchar, and many, many others, in the lead at 3-under. Kuchar’s own birdie putt, which would give him the solo lead at 4-under, is missed by less than an inch. Kuchar had been on the green in 2, so that’s a bit of a disappointment.
Bill Pennington: There’s currently about an 85 percent chance of rain by 10 a.m. Saturday in Augusta, with the rain continuing until early evening. Are you ready for the prospect of a Masters Sunday that begins in the morning so dozens of golfers can play 27 to 36 holes?
Bernd Wiesberger Visits the Top of the Leaderboard
Hey, Bernd Wiesberger, join the leaders! The Austrian made a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-5 second hole to go to 3-under as well.
Back and Forth, Back and Forth
Bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie. Rafael Cabrera Bello of Spain keeps joining the leaders, then falling back. He’s back among them now after dropping his 175-yard second shot to within a foot of the pin on the fifth hole. He has three European PGA tour wins, but none stateside.
Bill Pennington: There are a lot of good golfers — Stenson, Reed, Fleetwood, Watson and some guy named Woods — who will tee off in the afternoon. Temperatures are expected to warm up a few degrees to the high-70s. They may have the most favorable conditions today.
The Leaderboard Gets Even More Crowded
A wild day on the leaderboard. The now six-man group tied for the lead at 3-under is followed by a nine-way tie at 2-under including McIlroy, Mickelson, Fowler, Tony Finau, Cabrera Bello, Bernd Weisberger, Louis Oosthuizen, and two who haven’t started, Zach Johnson and Marc Leishman.
Bill Pennington: While most of the attention has been on McIlroy, Mickelson and Spieth, Dustin Johnson has three pars and an eagle on the par-5 second hole. He’s at 1-under for the tournament. Let’s not forget that Johnson was the runaway Masters favorite last year until he slipped on a stairway at his Augusta rental home.
Credit Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
McIlroy Slips Back to 2nd Place With a Bogey
And Rory McIlroy’s mercurial round continues with another bogey on No. 6. He missed the green on the par 3 with his tee shot and could only chip to 20 feet, where he missed the putt.
Cabrera Bello Runs Into Trouble
Rafael Cabrera Bello’s time among the leaders was brief. A tee shot in the bunker led to a bogey on 4. Seven at the top again.
Rickie Fowler Drains 65-Footer for Par
He’s not part of the leading eight, but Rickie Fowler sank a 65-foot putt to save par on the par-3 sixth after blowing his second shot from the trees way past the hole. That kept him at 2-under, a stroke back.
Rafael Cabrera Bello Joins the Party
A seven-way tie for the lead not enough for you? How about eight? Rafael Cabrera Bello puts a chip within a foot and makes the putt for birdie on No. 3. He’s in there at 3-under as well.
7 Players Tied for the Lead at -3
Matt Kuchar landed in a greenside trap on 5. After four straight pars, he is once again threatening to go the wrong way. His sand shot goes to 8 feet, and he misses it. But he doesn’t lose the lead; McIlroy also bogeyed, and there is a seven-way tie for the lead at 3-under.
The leaders: Kuchar, who is one over on the day; McIlroy, with two bogeys and two birdies but no pars today; Spieth, who is three over on the day; and four guys who haven’t started: Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed, Charley Hoffman and Adam Hadwin.
Jordan Spieth Steadies the Ship
Jordan Speith has a 10-footer to gain back a stroke, but it grazes the lip. Still, the par on 3 is better than he has been doing and he stays at -3.
Jordan Spieth Suddenly Two Strokes Back
Jordan Spieth’s nightmare start continues. After a second wayward tee shot, he three-putts No.2 for another bogey and falls out of the lead. McIlroy and Kuchar are now tied at the top.
Rory McIlroy Makes a Run at the Lead
And it’s all happening right now! Birdies on 2 and 3 bring Rory McIlroy up to 4-under. The birdie on No. 3 came courtesy of a big drive, a chip second shot on the par-4 hole, and a short putt. He’s tied with Matt Kuchar on top.
Matt Kuchar Gets Some Relief
Co-leader Matt Kuchar dumps the ball into the crowd behind the green on the par-3 fourth and could be in trouble. He has to pick up because the ball is behind the grandstand and drops it without penalty. He’s still far off the green, but his second shot is beautiful, leaving him with a 3-foot par saver.
Phil Mickelson Just One Stroke Back
Phil Mickelson is the only player among the contenders who is under par for the day. He’s looking at a birdie putt on No. 3 that could tie him for the lead. He misses that 10-footer, but is still in strong position a stroke back.
China’s Li Haotong Falls Out of Contention
Li Haotong, who was among the leaders yesterday, has had nothing but trouble today. The 22-year old from China double-bogeys the seventh hole to fall out of contention into the green numbers. Li’s double came in part because of a terrible bunker shot that wound up on the 17th hole, not a good place to be when playing No. 7. He’s gone from -3 to +1.
Spieth Double-Bogeys First Hole
The tournament leader, Jordan Spieth, tees off, playing with Alex Noren and Louis Oosthuizen. And it’s an unfortunate start as his tee shot goes well right. His second shot doesn’t get much farther and his third does not reach the green. The end result is a double bogey. Yikes! A nightmare start for Spieth, now tied for the lead with Matt Kuchar. Rory McIlroy also started with a bogey, but Phil Mickelson birdied the second and is just a stroke back.
Kuchar, Mickelson and Fowler Struggle on No. 1
Though Matt Kuchar was in second place and Rickie Fowler was 2-under, you get the sense that many in the big crowd for the latest group are there to see Phil Mickelson, also at -2 and playing some strong golf recently. Hole No. 1 doesn’t go smoothly for any of the three. Kuchar and Mickelson miss the fairway, and Fowler misses the green with his second shot. Kuchar and Mickelson save their pars, but Fowler misses a 10-footer and slips to 1-under. The course is playing tough across-the-board so far.
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Slow Start, but Big Names Coming Up
No one’s really making a move so far this morning. Li Haotong just dropped a stroke on No. 4, Tony Finau bogeyed the first, and none of the other players under par who have started have gained any ground. Some of the leaders are about to hit the course though: Matt Kuchar (-4) goes at 10:31, Rory McIlroy (-3) at 10:42 and Jordan Spieth (-6) at 10:53.
Fred Couples Still Playing (for Par) at 58
How about Fred Couples? At 58 years old, the 1992 Masters champion scratched out a par round on Thursday (one shot better than Tiger Woods) and is still par on Friday through three holes. And he’s playing while wearing a back brace. Couples was 18th last year and sixth as recently as 2010.
Tony Finau Starts With a Bogey
Tony Finau opens up his second round with a bogey. That’s how he started Round 1 as well, before racing to a 68 and second place. Finau drove into a bunker, but got his third shot to within 4 feet. Then he missed the gimme putt. That bogey knocks him out of second place for now.